North Dakota and Minnesota Regional Studies

Territorial Expansion


  • Homesteading - Weather on Plains

    Hard winters, drought, and hail were some of the challenges that drove homesteaders to give up. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and created opportunity for the 372,000 families that poured onto the prairies. The families came for many reasons – a hunger for land, a vision for the future, a longing for adventure, or an interest in profit. Some failed. Some scraped by. Some succeeded.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Homesteading - Unremetting Labor

    Only unending work allowed homesteaders to fulfill the obligations of acquiring the deed to their land. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and created opportunity for the 372,000 families that poured onto the prairies. The families came for many reasons – a hunger for land, a vision for the future, a longing for adventure, or an interest in profit. Some failed. Some scraped by. Some succeeded and, in the process, put down roots that shaped the region as we know it.

    Grades: 4,8-12
  • Homesteading - Rain Follows Plow

    With settlement pushing further west to the more arid plains, more creative advertising lured settlement, as did the Timber Culture Act. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and created opportunity for the 372,000 families that poured onto the prairies. The families came for many reasons – a hunger for land, a vision for the future, a longing for adventure, or an interest in profit. Some failed. Some scraped by. Some succeeded and, in the process, put down roots that shaped the region as we know it.

    Grades: 3-10
  • Homesteading - Railroad Land Grants

    Cash poor during the Civil War, the government made land grants to the railroads to insure the construction of a transcontinental railroad, which they then sold at a profit. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and created opportunity for the 372,000 families that poured onto the prairies. The families came for many reasons – a hunger for land, a vision for the future, a longing for adventure, or an interest in profit.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Homesteading - Native American Homesteaders

    Native Americans were allowed to homestead only if they renounced their tribal affiliations. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and created opportunity for the 372,000 families that poured onto the prairies. The families came for many reasons – a hunger for land, a vision for the future, a longing for adventure, or an interest in profit.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Homesteading - Later Homesteaders

    The seven Svihovec brothers in Hettinger County and Alma Thompson King farther north are examples of early twentieth-century homesteaders. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and created opportunity for the 372,000 families that poured onto the prairies.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Homesteading - Land Speculation

    Some acquired land only to resell it and make money. Others homesteaders, like Lorenzo Merry, were leaving trouble behind. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and created opportunity for the 372,000 families that poured onto the prairies. The families came for many reasons – a hunger for land, a vision for the future, a longing for adventure, or an interest in profit. Some failed. Some scraped by. Some succeeded.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Homesteading - Joseph Marquart

    An immigrant from Ukraine, Marquart began with almost nothing and obtained 6,000 acres by the time he died. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and created opportunity for the 372,000 families that poured onto the prairies. The families came for many reasons – a hunger for land, a vision for the future, a longing for adventure, or an interest in profit. Some failed. Some scraped by. Some succeeded.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Homesteading - Homesteading Act and Northern Plains

    Originally overlooked as unproductive, the Northern Plains offered opportunity for any determined person to own free or inexpensive land by homesteading. Land grants to railroads also provided a source of land for migrants to the prairie. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and created opportunity for the 372,000 families that poured onto the prairies.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Homesteading - George and Barbara

    Schreiber, from Alsace-Lorraine, and Barbara Schmidt from Hungary typify the experiences of immigrants to the northern prairies. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and created opportunity for the 372,000 families that poured onto the prairies. The families came for many reasons – a hunger for land, a vision for the future, a longing for adventure, or an interest in profit. Some failed. Some scraped by. Some succeeded.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Homesteading - Failure and Success

    While the failure rate was high, some homesteaded land is still being farmed by descendants of the original homesteaders more than 100 years later. Filmed in scenic Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota locations through all four seasons, “Homesteading” blends interviews with historians, the stories told by descendants of homesteaders, and dramatic readings from pioneer diaries and letters to paint a picture of the people who struggled and toiled to create a life for themselves on the prairies.

    Grades: 4-12
  • Homesteading - Diversity Among Homesteaders

    Homesteaders came from all over the world, some with no experience farming. Filmed in scenic Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota locations through all four seasons, “Homesteading” blends interviews with historians, the stories told by descendants of homesteaders, and dramatic readings from pioneer diaries and letters to paint a picture of the people who struggled and toiled to create a life for themselves on the prairies.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Homesteading - Displaced Native Americans

    The Homestead Act proved detrimental to Native Americans, when overly optimistic advertising in Europe brought a flood of immigrants to the plains, which drove them from their homelands. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and created opportunity for the 372,000 families that poured onto the prairies. The families came for many reasons – a hunger for land, a vision for the future, a longing for adventure, or an interest in profit. Some failed. Some scraped by. Some succeeded.

    Grades: 6-9,11-12
  • Homesteading - Danger, Disaster, Difficulty

     

    Medical emergencies, natural disasters, and everyday struggles made life difficult for homesteaders.

    Grades: 4-12
  • Homesteading - Cost of Homesteading

    In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and created opportunity for the 372,000 families that poured onto the prairies. The families came for many reasons – a hunger for land, a vision for the future, a longing for adventure, or an interest in profit. Some failed. Some scraped by. Some succeeded and, in the process, put down roots that shaped the region as we know it.

    Grades: 3-12
  • Homesteading - Boosterism and Immigrants

     Advertising, especially by the railroads, resulted in a flood of northern European immigrants to the plains.

    Grades: 4-12
  • Lewis and Clark's North Dakota: Jefferson's Vision

    Thomas Jefferson had many purposes in mind when he commissioned the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Places of interest identified by Lewis and Clark became military and trading posts in future years.  Additionally, many new species of plants and animals were identified.  William Clark also produced one of the earliest maps of this region.

    Grades: 1-8
  • Lewis and Clark's North Dakota: Lewis, Clark and the Native People

    During the Lewis and Clark Expedition the Corps of Discovery met many native peoples. As winter was nearing in 1804 Lewis and Clark were traveling northward on the Missouri River toward the Mandan and Hidatsa villages at the confluence of the Knife and Missouri Rivers.

    Grades: 1-8
  • Lewis and Clark's North Dakota: Retracing Lewis and Clark's Steps

    Lewis and Clark’s Journey began in St. Louis in 1803.  The Corps of Discovery proceeded northwest traveling mostly by river.  Today people follow the trail that Lewis and Clark once paved into uncharted territory.

    Grades: 1-8
  • Lewis and Clark Pathways | Fort Union

    Fort Union was a fur trading post along the Missouri River in what is now western North Dakota. European settlers and Native Americans both came and traded at this post with Its whitewashed walls seen for miles across the prairie. The river served as the transportation artery for the fort, whose daily life is now explained by living historians.

    Grades: 4-12

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